The Atom – Juan Rodolfo Wilcock.


Another Juan Rodolfo Wilcock portrait not quite ready as a translation but here it is in this imperfect state:

Fritty talks and talks and talks. Sometimes she remembers to ask a question knowing that if one doesn’t ask a question at regular intervals her interlocutor will fall asleep or simply go away. Yet when the other person, flattered, begins to respond to the question, Fritty resumes her speech and the reply is lost like the tail of a mouse disappearing behind an item of furniture. Things are organized like this: Fritty stands in the centre of a circle of listeners: she has one in front of her, one to her right, one to her left and another behind her. She wears black jersey leotards and has various gold-rimmed necklaces which match her gestures of an intellectual diva. However immobile her interlocutors may prove, she sees them as electrons of a precious atom of which she herself is the nucleus. With her talks she wards them off and attracts them in equal measure and when not able to induce them to spin in her field of forces she herself spins around with sudden fits of movement tending to wrench adorable reflexes from her blonde hair . She has a beautiful set of incisor and canine teeth but poorly chosen and implanted badly they protrude, are too long and of a very unnatural candour since they were made of marble, or worse, of travertine. The other teeth are her own: small twigs hurled from a distance and driven in at random, in any distance whatsoever into her charming small mummy-like mouth. It is through these assorted teeth that she talks and talks.

Her speeches are so ordinary and common that her listeners often think “No, so much banality is impossible, behind all this is surely hidden a glimmer of intelligence, maybe more than a glimmer, maybe a superior mind which wishes to mask itself with idiocy”. A vain illusion: Fritty is even more stupid than she seems. Leaving aside her questions – like little bounds of energy which soon disperse without further consequences, her discourse consists almost entirely of flattery and mockery. These oppsoing forces are so balanced that Fritty and her interlocutors can pass through a whole crowd, for example at an exhibition of Art in Decline, or the premiere of a film on the North Pole or a meeting in the square for the abolition of Coal, without the cohesion of this system diminishing or suffering in any way. Yet eventually the time comes to separate, greetings of farewell must be made and the goodbyes said. Nothing keeps them there anymore and her interlocutors leave each going on their own way. And Fritty, in despair runs quickly to her room, looks into her mirror and weeps with all the skin deep virtue of her character like a neutron which has lost its electrons.

About afoniya

I am a translator, language teacher, independent film scholar who is interested in many aspects of culture. I have my own blog on Russian and Soviet cinema at and I have also written for journals such as Film Philosophy and Bright Lights as well as Ribbed magazine. Outside of film my interest runs to language, politics, literature and my world is centred around the Meditteranean, Russia, Southern Ukraine as well as the UK.

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